Ireland was elected to the Security Council of the United Nations for a two-year term in 1981-82. A Small State at the Top Table: Memories of Ireland on the UN Security Council 1981-82 is a personal account of some of the main events of that period by Noel Dorr, who sat in the Irish seat on the Council and held the Council Presidency twice during those two years.
The Security Council, the central organ of the United Nations, has primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security. Five of its fifteen members are permanent – the US, the UK, France, Russia and China; the other ten are elected to membership for terms of two years each.
The author offers a lively and entertaining description of some of the main personalities who sat on the Council in his time, and a full account of important debates on Namibia and on Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
The main part of A Small State at the Top Table: Memories of Ireland on the UN Security Council 1981-82 is devoted to a lengthy and detailed account of the role of the UN in the Falklands War of 1982. His insider's account of the tensions with Mrs Thatcher's Government caused by the decision of the Irish Government at a crucial stage to seek further involvement by the UN – described here for the first time from an Irish viewpoint – will be of particular interest to readers in Ireland.
At a wider level the book will also attract attention as an interesting and very readable description of the role a small State with a strong commitment to the United Nations can play on issues of international peace and security during a term as an elected member of the Security Council.
Part I. The Security Council
1. The Security Council: Role and Functions
2. The Security Council: Personalities
Part II. Namibia 1981
3. Ireland's Presidency 1981: Namibia Debate
4. Namibia Debate: Vetoes
Part III. Lebanon 1982
5. War in Lebanon, June-July 1982
6. Lebanon, August 1982: Ireland's Council Presidency
Part IV. The Falklands 1982
7. The Falklands: Argentina Invades
8. The Council Responds
9. Hope for a Settlement
10. Hope Fades: What Next?
11. An Irish Initiative
12. Mediation by the Secretary-General
13. An Irish Draft Resolution
14. Amending the Irish Draft
15. Ireland's Policy: An Assessment
16. The Falklands War, a Generation On
Part V. A Sequel
17. Three Explorers in Search of a Continent